INR 4930 International Studies Capstone

Photograph of a sunset

"Sunset" by WTM Consulting on Pixabay

This is an example of a stock photo downloaded from Pixabay. It has a license of Creative Commons 0 (CC0), which means it is free for commercial use.

Photograph of a sunrise

"Sunrise" by Nigel Howe on Flickr

This is an example of an image downloaded from Flickr Creative Commons. It has a license of Creative Commons 2.0 (CC BY-NC 2.0) which means you are free to share and adapt (manipulate), as long as you provide attribution. Identify who the artist/photographer is, and where you found it -- like we did above!

Public Domain and Creative Commons

What is the difference between Public Domain and Creative Commons works such as images, video, and other media? Which ones can you use for your presentations, posters, or other research endeavors?

Public DomainPublic Domain logo

Works in the public domain include those whose intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable. They are therefore no longer under copyright, and can be used without permission.

If an image is in the public domain, you can safely copy, modify, and distribute it, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission from the image creator. Find the full definition of Public Domain here.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons logo

"A Creative Commons license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and even build upon a work that they have created. CC provides an author flexibility (for example, they might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of their own work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author's work, so they don’t have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions the author has specified." - Wikipedia

Creative Commons has many different licenses, which may restrict how you can use, share or modify an image. A Creative Commons 0 (CC0) license means that there are no restrictions, and that the image is completely free for personal and commercial use.

View the full list of Creative Commons license definitions here.

Attributing Images

The basic format for a book citation requires listing the author's name, the title of the book, the publisher's name, and the date of publication. Edited books, when cited in full, will list the editor's name instead of an author’s name. 

To cite an image in MLA 8, use the following formula:

Creator’s Last name, First name. “Title of the digital image.” Title of the website, First name Last name of any contributors, Version (if applicable), Number (if applicable), Publisher, Publication date, URL.

Here are several examples:

"Pandion haliaetus: An Osprey preparing to dive at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA." Wikipedia Commons, NASA, 2004,

Gilpin, Laura. “Terraced Houses, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico.” Library of Congress, Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-102170, 1939,


Where to Find FREE Images